Pros: Just two and a half hours from Long Island and NYC
Cons: Heavily used on holidays and summer weekends.
Ever since I first earned my drivers license I have been traveling to this park. That's over thirty five years. An uncle and aunt of mine had purchased land just one minute and one mile from the park. This part of the state, east of the Hudson River, is a beautiful mix of rolling hills, farm land, fantastic views, and weekend travelers who have purchased land and a little piece of paradise.
GETTING THERE AND GETTING IN
Lake Taghkanic State Park is just one mile south of the 82 interchange on Taconic State Parkway. Be aware that there is a Taconic State Park in the area. This is further north and east off rt 22. It has some fine offerings but doesn't have the beauty, diversity, or the fine beaches of Lake Taghkanic State Park. Taghkanic seems to be a Native American name but I could not find any information as to its meaning. Ok, am I confusing you with the names etc? I move on.
There is a charge to get into most NY State Parks. It's about four dollars here. Due to the fact that I live very close to and frequent Jones Beach, Robert Moses Beach, and other state parks on Long Island, we opt for the yearly Empire Pass. We purchase it at the beginning of each season and we are good to go to all NY State Parks all year. It can be purchased by mail or in person at most state parks. One disadvantage is that it is good for only the car the sticker is affixed to. It cost about thirty five dollars for the year. We make up the cost by mid summer. The Long Island Beaches charge more per entry.
Getting into the park off the Taconic State Parkway offers the feel of the rest of the park. The roads and grounds are well maintained. They are clean and clear and the open areas are very neatly trimmed.
The park has two beaches. The finer of the two is at the west end of the park. It is made of clean white sand and it now boasts trees for shade in the hot summer sun. These spots, though plentiful, are still at a premium on hot summer weekends.
The beach attracts families. During the week, in the summer, there is an occasional bus or two of kids shipped in from camps. If that excitement is too much for you it may be good to know that they are generally visit for just a few hours and it's also very easy to get to a quieter area by just moving a bit down the beach. The beach is a few hundred yards long.
The beach areas offer concession stands, showers, toilets, and umbrella rentals. On one side of the beach there are boat rentals. The prices are very reasonable but you must have ID and deposit money. There are no power boats allowed on this lake. That adds to the tranquility. There is a boat ramp and on a breezy weekend you will see small sailboats making their way across the lake.
The view from the west beach is beautiful. The lake is quiet with soft curves and a view of gently rolling hills across the water. The way the lake is set you never see the full lake from any point. It gently laps the shore on beaches, outcrops of rock, wooded shores, lily padded marsh, and small hidden coves. Except for the busy hot summer weekends this place is relatively empty. In the spring and fall the park is yours to explore. In the winter you may, if you are lucky or rather unlucky, bump into one or two other people in the whole park.
The park has campgrounds. During the first weekends of summer and holiday weekends you must have reservations. Any other time the campgrounds are under used. Do call about reservations. They have changed their policy a few times over the years we have been using the facilities. They have had first come first serve and then reservations only through specific phone numbers.
I have camped in the grounds many times. Over the years I have been there with my buddies, my wife, my family, and with many of my cousins. The sites are in wooded grounds. Some are more private than others but for the most part are open to each other. Scout around before getting a site. There are a couple of really nice ones around by the water tower. Be sure to climb the tower. It's a must for kids. It can be spooky at night!
Rest rooms and water are well situated in the camping area. The campground is situated just a short walk from the other beach in the park. This beach and the support houses are not as large nor modern looking as the new one but has a charm that blends well with the natural setting it is in.
There are very attentive life guards at high season on both beaches. Each beach also has a playground for the kids. The east bathhouse and beach has nearby Bar-B-Q grills as do all the campsites. Picnic tables are also at each site and with all grills throughout the park.
Near the campgrounds are cabins that can be rented by reservation. They are rustic log cabins with a fire place for heat. The beds are terrible to sleep on though. They are springs with soft mattresses. Even so, these cabins are fun to have a young family in. There is something special about the smell of the open fire and the close quarters. Running water and toilets are in the cabins.
The best bargain and most fun are the cottages on the south side of the lake. This again is reservation only! There are about ten of these buildings right on the lake. Each is unique in structure. They all have their own charm. Some are only for two while a few are perfect for a large family. Some have fire places. We stayed at these a few times, reservations are hard to get. They are really lovely and though this part of the park is open to anyone who wants to walk to it, it is a bit out of the way, It is generally a few families of renters in this area. Those renting can have their cars at the site. No other cars are allowed in the area.
The park as I mentioned is very well maintained and also well patrolled by state police. I have never seen or had any problem in this park and feel very safe giving my children freedom to explore.
There are many parking lots that provide access to the lakes shore. Some of these areas, even on a busy summer weekend, will be relatively empty. There are restrooms, grills and picnic tables set in areas all along the lake. You can find many secluded picnic areas.
Just inside the back entrance of the park off route 82 there is a hiking and exercise trail. Very few people are ever here. Just park your car and take a hike. Bring water on a hot day.
STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE
The next couple of paragraphs are added in reference to Klueger's write off honoring his wonderful wife Ahlstromomy. I understand she likes hummingbirds. This does not pertain to the park itself but talks about a cousin of mine who lives just a mile from the park, and some friends he invites to his home every year. Just skip ahead to the regular type for more on the State Park. Better yet, read on.
I have some cousins who now live on the land my uncle had purchased years back. Over the years he divided the land and parceled it out to my cousins. Now there are three homes on the property. My brother and I affectionately refer to the land as Tha Ponderosa.
In one home live my cousin Tony and his wife Agnes. On the open land of seventeen acres he has put up hummingbird feeders. We visit most summers and get to enjoy the show.
Every year from May till October they are seen at the feeders. Tony cannot tell for sure whether they are the same birds or not. These hummingbirds are Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. The males, the brighter and more colourful of the sexes, do have a bit red coloring on their wings and of course on the underside of their necks. The tail feathers and back on both male and female are an iridescent green.
It seems to me that, in our species of humans, it is the colour green a male sports that is the attraction to many females.
They are amazing birds to watch as they hover at the feeder and then just as suddenly as they arrived, they jet off into the distance. They have gotten so used to their surroundings that they aren't easily spooked by us big non feathered folk. It's great watching them come to the feeder. They also seem to be very territorial. My cousin isn't sure if it's a dominant bird or a group that keeps others out. There is, however, a battle for the sweet taste of the sugar water. Watching them dart to and fro is amazing!
My cousin Tony doesn't colour the water red. The feeder is red and that seems to be all that was needed to get the attention of these little wisps of wind.
Tony tells me he uses three parts water to one of sugar early in the season but then takes it down to a one part sugar to four parts water once the birds are established in the territory.
These birds circle around my cousins home like race cars at the Indy 500. They also get pretty close to folk in their path. My cousin has this image of one of these sharp beaked critters imbedded in his head. As of this writing the pin cushion look has alluded him.
OK, for those who have stuck with this review, here is a Very Helpful hint. On weekdays, even during the hot summer, the back entrance is unmanned or they are at times very late to the booth to collect fees. If you travel up the Taconic Parkway and get of on rt 82, just one mile north of the main entrance on the Taconic parkway, travel east. If you travel just two miles this will take you to the back entrance. Have dinner and a night on the town with the money you saved.
As you are driving into the back entrance of the park be sure to note the stand of evergreens on the right hand side. They are in absolutely perfect straight lines and very cool looking. I would love to know the history of them.
Maybe Taghkanic is a Native American word that means, "Cool looking stand of evergreens in absolute straight lines".
Nearby the park just one mile north on rt 82 are all the creature comforts you may seek. Within a mile stretch of this route right off the Taconic State Parkway is a diner, deli, a pizza place, gas station, restaurant, bar, motel,farm stands with fresh local produce, and more.
If you take a fifteen minute ride west on 82 into rt23 you will see signs for Olana. This was the home of American artist Frederick Church. His home, an unusual looking castle is definitely a place to stop and see. The furnishings and designs are very interesting!
This is just outside the city of Hudson. Be sure to see the Firefighters Museum. It boasts some of the oldest and well kept fire apparatus in this country and some from very early years built abroad. The first fire engine of NYC is here.
In the other direction, traveling into Massachusetts, a hike down Bash Bish Falls and a dunk in the water under the falls is a summer thing to do.
We enjoy going up in the fall when the leaves are at their best colour. We also do some apple picking at nearby Phillips Orchards.
Taghkanic State park is a great place to discover and from which to discover other places.
other participants in this Write Off
and our good host KLUEGER
other reviews by Popsrocks
The Hudson Valley
Mohonk Mountain House a great place to stay!
New York State
Saratoga National Historic site